Interior of Expo '70's 'Tower of the Sun' to open on permanent basis

May 31, 2013

By YOSHITAKA UNEZAWA/ Staff Writer

SUITA, Osaka Prefecture--The interior of the famed "Tower of the Sun" building, one of the iconic images of Expo '70 in Osaka, is set to open on a permanent basis in the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2014.

The work, standing in Expo '70 Commemorative Park in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, is the masterpiece of famed artist Taro Okamoto, who passed away in 1996 at age 84. Inside the tower is the "Tree of Life" sculpture, a piece Okamoto used to depict the evolution of life on Earth.

After the 1970 Osaka Expo, visitors were only admitted inside the tower upon request. When cracks in the walls were found in 2007, the park stopped allowing them in.

The "Tree of Life," surrounded by red inner walls, is a steel construction standing about 41 meters high.

It is shaped like a tree and colored green, blue, red and orange. Various animal miniatures such as gorillas and dinosaurs are affixed to the tree.

According to the Commemorative Organization for the Japan World Exposition '70, which administers the park, visitors to Expo '70 could view the "Tree of Life" while riding up an escalator installed inside.

The organization began in 2003 to admit visitors who submitted a request, but then suspended these visits in 2007 and began conducting inspections.

The organization will reinforce the tower for improved earthquake-resistance during the current fiscal year. It will also build stairs along the inner wall with the goal of opening the attraction in fiscal 2014.

The organization says it will also begin work on reproducing some of the animal models that have fallen off the "Tree of Life."

By YOSHITAKA UNEZAWA/ Staff Writer
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